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From the True Scary Car Repair Stories files

From the True Scary Car Repair Stories files

Doug Gyder, manager of the Tatum Ranch location found himself with a serious automotive situation, and he was miles from home and any Wilhelm Automotive car repair location… While enjoying some down time in the Black River area of Arizona– around Tick Flat–and fording the river in March of 2007, Doug hit a rock with his rear drive shaft. It twisted like a cork screw. He need to cut a hole in the bed of the truck, and disconnect the rear drive shaft, so he could drive the truck out of the river with the front wheel drive before night fall. The process included working in 33 degree water with his tools. Fortunately he was successful. Overnight, the river rose several feet and had Doug failed to get the drive shaft disconnected, the truck would have washed away and it would have been a long walk out of the wooded area. This remote part of Arizona is not known for having many visitors in March and he saw no one else during his adventure-filled weekend

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Timing Belt Replacement service

Q: I took my 1994 Acura MDX (38,500 miles) to the dealership for its 37,500 mile maintenance schedule (06/09) and they strongly recommend a Timing Belt Replacement service, including Replacing the drive belts and inspect the water pump, due to the age of the car (4 years-old). (Cost of $789.95!) I did not agree to perform this service. Do you recommend I perform the service or wait? Thank you for your time and assistance. Looking forward to your response.Raf A: The Accura owner’s manual recommends you replace your timing belt and inspect the water pump at 105,000 miles or seven years or under severe driving conditions, replace at 60,000 miles. I would agree with the Manufacturer’s recommendation. The timing belt on this particular model is very wide and generally very dependable. Unless a visual inspection showed cracking or damage, I would wait until 60,000 miles (recommended in severe service/ 110-degree Arizona weather), or seven years, whichever comes fi ... read more

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Having trouble with the break lights staying on all the time

Q: I have a 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 and am having trouble with the break lights staying on all the time. The emergency and anti-lock brake system lights. What is the cause and what needs to be done? Thanks for your help. Dominic A: There is no straightforward answer to this problem and a situation like this often comes down to three most likely causes: -speed sensor -anti-lock brake module -wiring or relay There is really no way to know without tapping into the car’s computer and running diagnostics on the system. The costs can vary to perform the tests, but will usually run about $100 (for the test only; repairs to fix the cause may be an additional expense

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Service advisor said the power steering may fail

Q: I am the original owner of a 2005 Scion tc with almost 45,000 miles. It is serviced every 5,000 miles at the dealership. In 2007, I was told it was “cautionary” but that the power steering system needs to be flushed. Recently I was told it “failed” and the “fluid is dirty/contaminated”. The service advisor told me not to delay as the power steering may fail. Cost is about $110. I am a cautious driver and only drive on city streets or freeways. The steering is handling quite well with no problems. I believe I am being scammed as I have heard from others that the power steering fluid almost never needs to be replaced and cars that are 20 years old still have the original power steering fluid. Please advise. Thanks.
Debra A: It’s a good question and actually a bit of a ‘hot topic’ in the auto repair world. Some people believe you never have to
... read more

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Wilhelm Automotive cameo on City of Peoria’s Channel 11 Focus TV

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Car Crank Sensor Problem?

A question from one of our customers–do you have a question for our Arizona Republic Car Care column (running every other Wednesday in the paper)? Send it to us and we’ll try to help–your question may even appear in our column in the Arizona Republic! My parents own a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 4WD with 149k miles. Once the engine has been on and running for about 15-30 minutes, the car will often cut out suddenly and will be able to crank over well, but will not start-up again for a period of 15-30 minutes. The car’s electrical power is good and doesn’t seem to be a problem. We checked different parts that could lead to this problem but all seem to be in working order including the Fuel Pump, Ignition Coil, Spark Plugs and Wires. We are completely out of ideas, and I don’t know if this is problem you can help with, but I have run out of options at this point. I don’t know if an ECM computer could be the problem but they have said those either work or don’t ... read more

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Front shocks leaking?

Front shocks leaking?

Q:I saw your column in the Republic (SE Valley Living Section) and thought I’d send you a question. Earlier this year during routine service of my 2003 Honda CRV, I was informed the front shocks were leaking and to replace them, the cost would be about $700-$800. I thought that was extremely expensive. In other cars I’d paid around $200 maybe. Perhaps because the CRV is front wheel drive, the CRV work would involve more labor – thus cost? What do you think? By the way, the car only had about 60,000 miles on it. I saw no sign of leakage on my garage floor. Nor did I see any sign of cuffing on the tires. I only agreed to the work because of my extended warranty which covered the cost excluding a $50 deductible. If you have another moment, what’s your opinion on what mileage to change power steering and brake fluid? Thank you, Bill D., Apache Junction, AZ. A: Bill, Let’s start with your first question. Your 2003 Honda CRV is equipped with front struts instead of ... read more

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When should I change fluids?

Q: I have a 2008 Accura MDX, my dealer’s service rep has recommended 15,000 mile service to include “throttle body service” ($228.95), “transmission fluid flush” ($179.95), “differential fluid flush” ($109.95) and “A/C Pollen Filter replacement” ($99.95). The vehicle is only 16 months old, is garaged and cared for, and never has been off road. These services seem unnecessary to me. What is your opinion? Thanks for your help. Jim A: According to Alldata, at 15,000 miles on your vehicle the manufacturer recommends a lube, oil, and filter change, replacing the cabin air filter, differential service (recommended at 7,500 miles, 15,000 miles and then every 15,000 miles thereafter), and tire rotation, in addition to several inspections. The A/C pollen filter replacement is the cabin air filter. The manufacturer recommends a transmission flush at 60,000 miles. Typically, the throttle body service is recommended by most dealers and independent automotive service cen ... read more

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Wilhelm Techs ASE Certified

Wilhelm Techs ASE Certified

WILHELM AUTOMOTIVE PUTS EMPHASIS ON TRAINED TECHNICIANS Every year, Wilhelm Automotive, a family owned and operated automotive repair business, makes sure that its technicians are certified to be the most reliable and knowledgeable automotive repair employees available to their customers. They do this, in part, by having their technicians certified by the non profit Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Wilhelm Automotive currently has five locations in the Valley, and all of the locations have at least three master certified ASE technicians. The ASE certification insures the automotive technician is knowledgeable about all levels of car repair, and also stays abreast of current technology. Prospective ASE candidates take one or more of the ASE’s more than 40 exams that stress knowledge of job related skills. An ASE certified ‘Master Technician’ must pass a group of ASE automotive exams in a series. ASE certified technicians must also show ... read more

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Wilhelm Auto Hosts Pet Food Drive

Wilhelm Auto Hosts Pet Food Drive

NO MORE EMPTY BOWL!WILHELM AUTO TO HOST PET FOOD DRIVE IN NOVEMBER Wilhelm Automotive, a family owned and operated auto repair company, will host a pet food drive at each of its five locations this November. The food drive will benefit Empty Bowl Pet Food Pantry, an organization dedicated to helping pet owners facing financial challenges. With any pet food donation made at the stores in November, Wilhelm Automotive will offer each customer $15 off any auto repair service. Empty Bowls helps a variety of families with pets in need including homeless people with pets, senior citizens, veterans, disabled people with service dogs and those who are simply struggling financially. Since the beginning of 2012, Empty Bowl has donated more than 200,000 pounds of food to those in need through donations and pet food drives. “At Wilhelm Automotive, we know the pets are part of the family, and we are happy to reach out to the ... read more

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